K-State Research and Extension researches the best plants that are adapted to our prairie climate. Check out two new petunia varieties that are proven winners, including the world's only black petunia. You'll want to sit and enjoy their unique qualities.

New Petunia Varieties

Out of all the annuals that we plant in our gardens in Kansas, petunias provide more color impact and more “wow” appearance than any other annual. They bloom well in the spring and fall, and the new types bloom through the summer. The breeders have done research and have added a lot of heat resistance to the petunias. In the past, we had to deal with summer heat stall and deadheading in July. We now have petunias that require no deadheading or any special care. Just plant them, give them a little bit of fertilizer on a regular basis throughout the summer in small amounts, and they’ll bloom profusely.

We have a huge color range from whites to pinks to salmon to yellow to the purple on this Supertunia Bordeaux. We have a wonderful K-State purple flower that has a deeper purple on the veins and throat of the flower. It’s a fantastic plant for our K-State folks. And for the KU fans, we have reds and a KU blue. They can be put side by side, or as a mixed blended bed.

We have approximately 100 new petunia varieties in the trial. Over the last ten to twelve years we’ve tested over 2000 different varieties. We have one petunia variety that is way above all the others. It’s the best petunia we’ve ever trialed. We’ve grown it for four to five years at the Olathe Research Center. We’ve also grown it in Wichita, Hays, Colby, Garden City and across the state at nineteen demonstration gardens that the Master Gardeners take care of. It’s called Supertunia Vista Bubblegum.

It works great in the ground or in a container. Individual plants can grow as much as eight feet across in one year. If you plant it with a lot of space, it will grow eight inches tall and spreads wide. If you plant it close together, it’s so vigorous that one plant pushes against the other and they climb on top of each other. Then, they may pile up as high as three feet tall through the layering effect. It’s a very vigorous plant with lots of blooms. This petunia is a great plant.

This feature story prepared with Alan Stevens, Kansas State University Research and Extension, Retired, Horticulture. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.

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